Monday, 31 August 2009

Why one's Wife now chooses to shop ALONE

Recently, my husband's friend in Oxford sending him piece of cut out local newpaper article. This is an absolute interesting phenomenon to observe in Oxford, which probably have something to do with the general intellectual level of majority population.
Knowing my husband, the guy who send him this snippet (who is also a PhD), and few other attached or likewise married man in Oxford Univerisity Physics department, I would not be surprise that this incident actually happens!

So, do you like to shop ALONE?

Sunday, 30 August 2009

It's a bird??

It's a bird.... no it's a plane....
(Well, its "planes" not "a plane). This is red arrows! redarrows2
The Red Arrows are renowned throughout the world as ambassadors for both the Royal Air Force and the United Kingdom. Since the Team was officially formed in 1965, the Red Arrows have completed over 4,000 displays in 53 countries.
The Red Arrows’ reputation is built on the commitment and professionalism, combined with Royal Air Force skills, training and equipment. Many of the Red Arrows’ pilots and support staff have recently returned from Afghanistan and Iraq and many will be temporarily detached on operations overseas during their time with the Red Arrows.
To do what? to entertain us with cool stunt like this instead!!
Isn't it nice if we can stop spending tax money on war in Afganistan or Iraq and fund a stunt like this instead?

Now how about this....

It's a bird.... no it's a plane.... it's superman!
Eh, not exactly. It's a parachuter with a British flag to be exact!

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Bristol Fiesta : ENCORE! ENCORE!

The day finally close to an end. After seeing a spectacular balloon flight, we are out and about again in the fayre ground.
Below, the "Balloon Glow". They played the music and turn on/off the balloon in turn.
Look like huge musical bulbs.
closing5 And the last one, the fireworks!
Encore! Encore! Until we see you again next August.

Next Bristol Fiesta is 12-15 August 2010.
Visit the organiser website

Thursday, 27 August 2009

The Gospel Meeting

We are on our journey to Wales to meet Abbie/Joe Nicholson and Steve/Marcia McLean.
This will be a 8 month reunion since we the last time we met them for Christmas.
All the little children (Josiah, Daniel, and Maggie) are excited to be able to play again together, last year they have a great time sharing food and toys, even cooperate to put on a play!
(Yes, you can click here when they dress up for the nativity scene).

Meanwhile, new events coming up in our local church.


Everyone invited!

Unfortunately I can't provide the air ticket to reach Corby!


I find this bit of writting of our friends in Wales (Steve and Marcia) are so funny, interesting but true in many way. Just would like to share it to the world!

Having so many friends visit has been a blessing in many ways. We've been reminded of the joyful privilege it is to have friends - and reminded as well what a means of grace Christian friendships can be.

Not that we have no Christian friends who live here in North Wales, but when people just pop into your life for a few days or a week of concentrated "friendship" and then leave just as quickly, you tend to feel their presence and absence a little more acutely than those you see more often. And what a range of feelings!

Excitement (because they're coming),

relief (because they're finally here),

fatigue (because we all stayed up late - again),

hilarity (often when up late),

urgency (because you don't want to neglect your regular responsibilities),

longing (from reminders of friends you've left behind),

elation (over good news from home),

and, of course, gloom (because our home seems so empty when they've gone).

We would not want to have friends visiting all the time (who would?!?), but the Lord has taught us a lot through this past stretch as well as given us things to think about and work on for the future.

Things like: How do we stay close to the Lord when our routine is disrupted for several days? How can I lead our home in a way that makes visitors feel welcome, protects Marcia from wearing herself out too much, prevents the kids from going completely feral for lack of normal discipline, and leaves me room to carry on with the work to be done in Abergele?

We so want to build a family life that displays the grace of God to people who visit - but not in a put-on preachy kind of way. Of course, that requires not mere doing of certain things but actually being a certain kind of person - through the grace of God.

To some extent, this is what I've been experiencing this summer, not that I blame anyone of course. It's been fun to see almost every week there are different friends who wanted to see us. But as Steve mentioned on his entry, there is always a cost to pay.
I had not read my bible as regular, I had not do my quiet time talking to my Saviour as I used to do, I lost my quality "family only" time, I didn't give my son and my husband the slice of 24-minus-working-minus-sleeping-minus-household-chores that I used to give.(Just in case you are wondering it work out that I have about 2 hour for that a day). My husband is unable to be as efficient in writing his thesis, and obviously, my lack-of-attention son turn deaf to my command even turn callous to punishment. Even at some point, I feel that office is much more comfortable than home!!!

So why do I STILL accept friend in my house for a stay, for chat, or for consolation anyway?

Most of the time the guilt that bothers me to reject a friend visit, or someone asking for help, which end up make my own schedule, my family schedule, all fall apart. I always think it is the Lord's will for me to be a good Samaritan to anyone and providing them not only with hospitality, but also with my time and money. But I guess, Steve and Marcia make me realise, there is time to say "No" when you need to minister your own family with their spiritual and physical needs.

1 Tim 5 : 8
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

My encounter with a rental scammer

Few weeks ago, I was looking at gumtree advert for a rental property in Leicester for a friend of our, when we came across this very nice modern looking 2 bedroom apartment with good rent. (Below is the picture on the advert).

I mean, who does not want a nice apartment like that? So I decided to give the owner a buzz, and he replied my email.

My name is Jacob Twing and I am from Denmark and the flat is still available for rent. The flat was redecorated last year and the flat is looking very nice and clean. The property has a fully furnished kitchen,clean and well tidy sitting rooms,laundry room,and fully furnished with home utilities like: electric shower, Lounge,Vacuum Cleaner,Toaster, Owen and microwave, dryer, iron, washing machine , refridgerator , dishwasher, powershower, heater, cable ready,tv set and dvd player,internet connection, equiped kitchen and everything a house needs. I m interrested in finding someone clean who can take care of this house more then getting money from renting it if you know what I mean. Till last month the apartment was rented by some students from Germany and now they left and the apartment is available again for rent. The price I want is £420 per month and I am intrested in a long term agreement!
If you have the money I could come in the next few days to show you the apartment and maybe sign the rental agreementif you like it but first I have to be sure you are honest you really do need a place to live because two weeks ago a person from Leicester told me he is really interested and he asked me to go to Leicester to meet him and sign the rental agreement and when I arrived there no person showed up to rent my place and I lost time and money for nothing.
I will wait for your e-mail,

Jacob Twing

At first I am not very suspicious about it, I continue on negotiating with him, asking necessary information. To my surprise, he even send me a copy of legal rental agreement and several more pictures of the rental apartment. He even mention the address of the property! What got me thinking is he showing no concern whatsoever that my friend wasn't actually in the country therefore someone else would have to sign the contract.

I will attach some pictures of the flat,floor plan and also a model of the rental
contract! The flat is located on 7 New Walk, City Centre, Leicester,
Leicestershire LE1 6TE but I can`t give you the exactly address because there`s
no one living out there and I`m afraid of thief's! Please accept my apologies
for this but I hope you understand me because I`m in Denmark right now!

Jacob Twing

But then, it's start to get really fishy when he mentioned about MoneyGram. Which is a very unusual way of paying rental deposit in UK.

He tried to establish the ground why he need the me to see the MoneyGram receipt. I just need to pretend sending money to my husband (or myself)and basically he is saying all I need to do is to show him the receipt of the transaction.

Hello again,
The rental agreement is a standard one and we will sign it when we will meet in person! We can sign the reement starting from September, but you see these is due to previous predicament that I have gone through in the past trying to rent the property to some students,I have got to realize so many people are not really in need of an apartment all they do is secure a place in advance, My last experience in trying to rent the property to a particular lady had got me to predicate on these,she made me believe she was willing and ready to get the apartment she even went to the extend of showing me her statement of account,which made me took her for the viewing but after taking her for the viewing,she saw the apartment and got to love it and never wanted to loose it,so she kept pleading i retain it for her because she is not financially composed at the moment,which i did but end up disastrously.
So basically for me to be sure of you been willing and ready to get the apartment I will employ you walk into any Money Gram outlet and send the total bill cash £1260 (two months rent and one month refundable deposit) to your partener`s name(NOT to ME),or your partener should send it to you with location of Leicester,All I need is for you to get back to me with the receipt issued to you after making the transaction so I can confirm it! When we will meet in person to sign the papers we will go together to Money Gram and you or your partner will withdraw the cash and pay me in hand or you can pay me on Monday by bank transfer! I just need to see that you do have the money available and you do have serious intentions in renting the flat! If the Money Gram agent will ask you about the receiver you should tell him that is your cousin because the transfer fees will be cheaper! Anyway I will pay for it either you take the flat or not! I will book the flight for Saturday as soon as I have your positive answer because I can come only in weekends!

I do apologise for that but as I told you last time when I arrived to Leicester to show the flat to a person everything was a stupid joke and I hope you understand me because I don`t want to waste my time and money on plane tickets..

Jacob Twing

So, I ask more information about him. I mean, at least I should know his phone number or Denmark address are real. But instead he answer me with this.

Hello again Jessica,

Please note that I didn`t asked for any kind of advance payment! I can come to Leicester only in weekends and the banks are closed then! That`s why I suggested to withdraw the money cash from your bank account and send it to a person from your family or a closed friend of you using Money Gram money transfer service-you just have to have your ID and cash with you! The Money Gram money transfer service will take only 5 minutes to make the transaction and they are opened in weekends too when I arrive to Leicester! If you will be asked if you know the receiver, you should tell the Money Gram agent that is a cousin of you because the transfer fees will be cheaper! As we agreed I am going to support the transfer fees either you take the flat or not! The money is still within your reach and nobody has access to it except you. I am asking you this to be sure that I do not come in UK for nothing. Your partner doesen`t have to cash out the money after you sent it before I check it out, you will do it after we sign the rental contract and pay me in hand when I will be in Leicester! After you send the money you will get a receipt from the Money Gram agent which you have to send it to me so I can be sure that you have serious intentions in renting the flat and also to be sure that you do have the money available on your name! In the moment I will get the receipt I am going to buy the flight ticket and I will come to Leicester to sign the rental contract and give you the keys! Hope you can understand my situation! I only need to see the Money Gram money transfer copy of receipt given to you. This is what I will require to confirm available funds for your rent and to serve as surety that you are serious tenant. You can send as attachment the receipt by email. For the next payment we will use my bank account and it won`t be necessary to pay me cash! I do apologies for all but two weeks ago I made a mistake and I need to be sure that I am dealing with serious people who really need a home and have serious intentions in renting! Kind regards,Jacob Twing

P.S : As I told you,I have a lot of tenants interested to rent the flat. I will reserve the flat to the first one that provides me the scanned paper from Money Gram

The bottom line is, he refuse to give any number/address etc. Why? because the real person is probably somewhere in Nigeria! Thank you for my smart husband to find this out.

The loop hole that many people do not know is that MoneyGram receipt can be use to take out the money itself (with some fake identity of course). In addition to that, showing your receipt to someone else is violating MoneyGram regulation.

Then I learned from a few forums that this kind of rental scam is common and many people have lost their money. Unfortunately it's very hard for the UK or European police to act against this kind of fraud. So the only thing they can do is trying to educate and inform more people about this.

So what did I do to Mr. Jacob Twing?

I sent him a FAKE moneyGram receipt (you can download it from this website, then fill it up yourself). And I shall laugh at him if he ever try to take the money out of it!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Bristol Fiesta : Let's put on the show!

I must admit I am slacking of again. Last weekend we had a fantastic church BBQ and before heading there we did a short "pick your own" raspberries. Picture to follow.
Meanwhile, here is the picture for the Bristol fiesta.
We arrive for the balloon flights at 6.30 pm. The sky was clear and there is hardly any wind.

A good sign for ballonist.

People are gathering nearby the main arena, trying to book the best place to sit and watch the balloons take their flight.
And this is our tent! 1 hour preparation for hundreds of balloon to fly sounded like centuries when you are stuck doing nothing with your kid. So, we eat some noddles and play some wooden train.
Finally after the loooong wait, the first balloon took off, followed by claps and cheers from the crowd.
And then I saw this "houses-printed" balloon!
Just in about 15 minutes, the sky is flooded with colourful balloon. What a sight! It's almost like a dream.
And check out this fancy shaped baloon too!
When I was watching all the balloon prepared to take of. I caught a glimpse of this little girl sitting on her dad's shoulder and watching patiently of the preparation taken place.
Unfortunately they did not fly these fancy shaped balloon, I guess they are not meant to be flown (probably because of the shape). But anyway, it's good enough to see them blown and floating in the main arena.

Tomorrow, I'll share more of the night pictures. Overall, it has been another very successful day!

Friday, 21 August 2009

Bristol Fiesta : The Fun Fayre

Crystal skies and record breaking crowds at the Harvey Nichols Bristol International Balloon Fiesta made this year's Fiesta one of the most successful yet. But what is a fiesta without a fun fair?
That's right, it will not be as fun!
Below, my son stand in awe watching the roundabout.
"Mommey, ride that!" He said. So hop we went, both of us.
I am sorry I only have very few pictures, I was too busy to have fun! (Ups, the drawback of bulky SLR).

The acres of fair ground.

And then after the fun rides, we stop to eat some chips and noddle. Suddenly my son sream out of excitement.

Yes that's right, there is loads of huge bubble. If you notice the pictures above, I actually bought the "bubble sword" (it looks like a sword, then you press a button it will open a clasp and made your sword looks like a triangle instead) which creates... huge bubbles...!
How much fun a £2.5 toy can be?
According to my son... that is...

very much fun!

This guy created a nested bubbles by blowing air to his huge bubbles. Isn't that facinating?


Next entry, more balloons! And... look at the air stunts! (Picture courtesy Bristol Fiesta gallery).

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Bristol Balloon Festival : Interlude

These are a few picture we managed to take on our short stay in Bath. It's rather hard to wait for the summer sun to set when you are tired and worn from a long day at hot air balloon festival.
But there you go, we waited until 9.30 p.m. Above is my favorite point of interest in Bath : Pulteney Bridge.
Unfortunately for us, we had no time to see the famous roman bath. (Which I insist we had to see it at night when all the lights is on), but I guess meanwhile the view around the city will satisfied us.


Coming up, our day out in Bristol Balloon Fiesta. The weather was great, so check these out! More report on this in few days time.